You are viewing the content for Friday 3 January 2014

Limerick City of Culture director loss ‘a blessing’

The resignation of Limerick City of Culture artistic director Karl Wallace and two of his team may be a "blessing in disguise".

The chairman of the organisation’s board, Pat Cox, made the comments after Mr Wallace, along with legacy programmer Maeve McGrath and international programme manager Jo Mangan, quit the organisation on Wednesday, just hours after the year of culture commenced with New Years Eve concerts in the city centre.

This is the second major crisis to hit the event. There were unconfirmed reports that legal advice was taken prior to the resignations.

State funding of €6m has been approved by the Government for the year of culture. The appointment of Mr Cox’s former European Parliament assistant, Patricia Ryan, as chief executive on Nov 4, without the post being advertised has previously been strongly criticised.

Ms Ryan admitted she had no experience of cultural management or working in the arts industry.

Following his resignation, Mr Wallace said there had been a breakdown in communication between his team and Ms Ryan.

"We are exerts in our fields: we manage budgets, we manage artistic structures, we know what we are doing. My concern was the programme team was being sidelined in key decisions about how the programme should be delivered."

Mr Wallace also said he was not even consulted about the first major event on New Years Eve night.

The media and some arts community figures were refused entry to a meeting at the Limerick City Gallery of Art yesterday where Mr Wallace briefed city of culture arts and culture stakeholders. A statement issued after the meeting by the stakeholders said it would be difficult to implement the planned programme of events without Mr Wallace.